Larry asked me a question while driving home in the car the other night. It was, “How do you “preserve” your relationship with yourself, while in a partnership, so that when your partner is no longer there, you will have yourself.?”
I thought it was a great question and started to think about the ways I stay in “relationship with myself” while in a partnership. I have had lots of practice, over the years, of giving my power away and losing myself in relationships by putting my partner’s needs and wants ahead of mine.
Being single and without a partner for 15 years, I felt some anxiety when I thought about starting a new relationship, even though it was the desire of my heart. It took me so many years to “find myself” and the possibility of “losing myself” in a new relationship was not in the picture. I was determined to do it differently and not give my power away as I did for so many years.
When Larry and I became partners, of course, I wanted to spend every waking minute with him. This is natural because getting to know one another is very important. I still want to spend all the time I can with him, because we enjoy each other’s company and we have fun together. We don’t know how long we will have with one another so we try to live each day to the best of our ability. Living alone for all that time and loving it, I also didn’t know how I would feel sharing my living space with another person
I am happy to say that it has been 1 ½ years that we have been partners and I still have “myself,” perhaps even more than I did before the relationship. I can truly BE myself with Larry and be as playful and silly as I want to be or as deep and spiritual as I want to be or as “fresh” as I want to be. We have a relationship that is built on trust, love and commitment. We honor and respect each other’s needs and wants. I love sharing our home together and we have learned to laugh at the little “quirks” we both have.
While in meditation, I went inside and asked myself, “What did I do to stay in relationship with myself?” Here are some of the things that I have done:
I maintained my daily spiritual discipline of prayer, meditation, journaling & daily readings.
When I felt the need to be by myself, I took a “Pat Day” and gave myself the TIME I needed to be with myself.
I continued to love, affirm, accept and appreciate myself, especially if I “blew it.”
I didn’t expect my partner to meet all of my needs all of the time. I gave myself what I needed and did what I could do for myself. For example: If I wanted flowers from the garden or from the store, I bought them for myself, rather than expecting my partner to do it all the time.
I knew what I wanted and was able to ask for what I wanted.
I was able to accept & respect a NO from my partner.
I regularly checked in with myself to see how I was feeling and then, if appropriate shared with my partner what was going on, especially if it had to do with our relationship.
I maintained my friendships with my girlfriends.
I continued with my hobbies and what I enjoyed doing.
I understood that my happiness is my responsibility and I didn’t expect my partner to make me happy. I knew it was my responsibility to take care of my needs: body, mind and spirit.
When I agreed to contribute to Pat’s blog I was completely out of my comfort zone and this is a very long stretch for me. I would like to thank those of you who have written and given me so much positive feedback and support. I really appreciate it. I have to be careful with what questions I ask Pat, because before I know it , I’ll have to write about them. The question just popped into my mind while we were driving, “How do we “preserve” our relationship with ourselves when we are in a love relationship with another person?”
I think in some of my love relationships over the years, I’ve ignored my relationship with myself and gave everything to the relationship I was in. Then when the relationship ended, I didn’t have anything to support me because I didn’t have myself. A healthy relationship encourages the partner to have a life apart from one another. For example: spending time with friends, having hobbies and interests of their own.
When we have developed a relationship with ourselves, we will want to spend some time alone. I think that’s important for each person to understand. It isn’t that we don’t love the other person or don’t want to be with them. I like my own company. I try to walk three miles every day and I value that time alone. When I’m driving, I don’t use the radio because I value that time alone with myself. I believe that if the relationship is secure and there is trust, each would encourage and support the other in the personal relationship they have with themselves.
I believe that one of the most important ways to maintain your relationship with yourself is to continue to love yourself. I’m learning how to accept and value myself. I think one of the most important things I’ve done was to start “believing” the wonderful things Pat is constantly telling me about myself. For example: “You can do anything you put your mind to. You are lovable, kind, patient, fun to be with and a magnificent person and vessel of love.” I always found it extremely difficult to accept compliments and accolades from others. Not only am I learning to accept them from Pat, but I’m beginning to believe them about myself.
Another way I’m valuing myself is by allowing myself to just “BE” and RELAX. I’m not listening to my “busy mind” telling me I have to do this or that all the time. I work especially hard to keep my stress level at 0. I allow myself to go with the flow, keeping a schedule that is very flexible. Before, if I made plans to do something, “come hell or high water” I would do what I had planned or promised because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone or hurt their feelings if I had to change plans. Today, I am able to say NO and change plans if I need to because I know that is valuing and loving myself.
I value and claim my “happiness” because I am worthy and deserve it. I am grateful and appreciate all of the wonderful gifts I have created on this beautiful Island Maui. I am taking credit for making good decisions.
I encourage you to be good to yourself, forgive yourself, don’t criticize or blame yourself, do things “YOU” like to do, be flexible, kind and patient with yourself and, accept gifts and compliments from others. Who knows, you may become your own best friend. LOVE IN YOUR HEART WASN’T PUT THERE TO STAY. LOVE IS NOT LOVE TILL YOU GIVE IT AWAY.
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